Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum joins PFT to take us inside a team’s war room as free agency and the draft begins to gear up, his thoughts on Joe Flacco’s next contract, if Darrelle Revis has a spot on the 2013 Jets, and more.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: One-on-one with Mike Tannenbaum
You didn’t need to see Cardinals rookie Tyrann Mathieu go down to know it was bad.
Tests have confirmed it’s perhaps worse than it looked.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Mathieu tore both the ACL and the LCL in yesterday’s ugly collision.
Tearing multiple ligaments complicates any recovery, so it might not be as simple as assuming he’ll be well when the Cardinals start back next summer.
Mathieu was blossoming into a playmaker for the Cardinals, justifying the third-round draft pick, as be could play safety and cover slot receivers.
The Redskins and Patriots had very different results on Sunday, but both teams are facing questions about their future on Monday.
Washington got blown out at their rapidly emptying home stadium by the Chiefs a few hours after a report about coach Mike Shanahan’s dissatisfaction with the relationship between quarterback Robert Griffin III and team owner Dan Snyder came to light. Shanahan didn’t deny the report or say much of anything else after the game, so Mike Florio will welcome Rich Tandler of CSN Washington to PFT Live to discuss what’s going on in D.C.
The questions about the Patriots future are more localized than the ones the Redskins face after this mess of a season. Tight end Rob Gronkowski’s season is done because of a torn ACL, leaving the Patriots to forge on without their most productive receiver in the postseason once again. Tom Curran of CSN New England will let us know how the Patriots will move on in the wake of Gronkowski’s injury.
You can watch it all live at noon ET by clicking right here.
Yesterday’s weather conditions made a mess of many game plans.
But for the Chiefs, the sorrier the conditions, the better things are looking for Jamaal Charles.
“Jamaal continues to be the best,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, via Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star. “He’s as good as they come.”
Charles had 19 carries for 151 yards yesterday against the Redskins, the latest in a series of strong performances as the weather gets colder. He’s averaging 7.3 yards per carry over the last three games.
“I knew I was going to get the ball the whole day, because of the type of weather that was outside,” Charles said. “I knew everyone was saying, ‘It’s your type of day.’ But it doesn’t matter what type of day, . . . it’s every day for me. No matter what kind of weather conditions, I love to get the ball anyway.”
“I’ve been playing in Kansas City for six years, so I’m kind of used to it. You’ve got to suck it up. It’s football right here, and you’ve got to out there and play, no matter what the conditions outside, . . . sleet, snow, you got to go.”
While Charles isn’t a power running per se, his ability to make one decisive move and go is huge for the Chiefs, and can only help them the later in the year they go.
For a coach whose team is in first place with three weeks left, Detroit’s Jim Schwartz can’t feel great about his job security right now.
The Lions’ loss on Sunday to the Eagles puts the pressure on: If they win their next three games, they win the NFC North. But if the Lions lose any of their next three, there’s a good chance they’ll lose the division to either the Bears or the Packers (who play each other in Week 17).
And that raises a question: How could Lions owner William Clay Ford justify keeping Schwartz if the Lions don’t win the division in a year like this? If the Lions can’t win the division in a year when the Packers and Bears were both devastated by injuries and the Vikings totally melted down, when could they ever win the division?
The good news for Schwartz’s job security is that Ford is a very patient man. This is, after all, the man who sat through year after year of “Fire Millen” chants raining down on him before finally firing Matt Millen. But with Schwartz currently sitting on a 29-49 record in his fifth year as the Lions’ coach, it’s difficult to see how Ford could stomach a late-season collapse.
Detroit is favored to win its next game, at home against Baltimore a week from tonight, and the Lions will be favored to win their final two, home against the Giants and at Minnesota, as well. So there’s a good chance that Schwartz will lead his team to a three-game winning streak to end the season, and that the Lions will host their first playoff game in 20 years.
But if that doesn’t happen, it may be time for Ford to show Schwartz the door.
But you don’t have to be a doctor to know the Patriots are going to have to do business differently — yet again — without their star tight end.
“You just have to find a different formula. That’s the important part,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “Gronk provides a certain margin of error because of how talented a player he is. The other guys play different roles for us. Those roles are going to have to just shift, kind of what we did on the last two drives of the game. We ended up going four wide receivers at points. [At] different points, we had more with [James] Develin and [Matthew] Mulligan on the field. We’re going to have to make due. Whatever the combinations are, if Gronk’s not out there, then we have to try to figure those out.
“We’re going to go down to Miami with confidence that we’re going to win the game, I know that — confidence in our game plan, confidence in what we’re doing and what we’re asking all the players to do. It may be different than what the game plan was with Gronk in there, but we’re just going to have to try to figure it out.”
Of course, getting through a game with the Dolphins is one thing.
How successful they’ll be able to be without Gronkowski (considering the season-long state of their passing targets) remains to be seen.
“That’s perfect for you guys to talk about all day, but that’s not something that we engage in or talk about those types of things,” Brady replied when asked if they can win the Super Bowl without Gronkowski. “However it ends up playing out — I don’t know anything about the injury or severity of it — but we’ve got a talented group of players that are playing. Every team has players that they wish were out there every down, and if they’re not out there every down you’ve still got to find a way to win.”
While no one’s going to feel sorry for them as long as they have Brady, the procession of stars on IR — which includes Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and soon Gronkowski — certainly presents a tremendous challenge to overcome.
Per a league source, an MRI confirmed the damage. Gronkowski will miss the rest of the season. Surgery and rehab will affect his preparation for 2014.
The MRI also shows damage to the MCL. Surgical repair might not be needed of the MCL.
If so, that provides a bit of a silver lining. In 2008, Tom Brady tore an ACL and an MCL, and surgical tinkering with the MCL reportedly resulted in an infection.
For Gronkowski, who battled an infection following forearm surgery earlier this year, the prospect of future complications looms over the ACL repair.
“After the third [forearm] surgery, Robbie said, ‘I’m never doing this again,’” his mother said in October, amid questions that his return from forearm and back surgery was taking too long. “And weeks later, he’s back in for the fourth one. So he doesn’t want to go back where he was and start all over again. It wasn’t fun. It was so discouraging.”
The current situation will be discouraging for Gronkowski, the Patriots, and their fans. From his return in Week Seven through Week 13, the Patriots had the highest-scoring offense in the NFL.
Without Gronkowski, the task of getting back to the Super Bowl becomes a lot more challenging.
Running back Tashard Choice got pink slipped in Buffalo last week, but he wasn’t out of work long.
The Colts announced Monday morning that they have signed Choice while placing Chris Rainey on injured reserve. Rainey joins Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard and Daniel Herron as Colts running backs to see their seasons come to a premature end this season.
Choice was the third back with the Bills and should slide into the same role with the Colts. Donald Brown and Trent Richardson will continue in the top two rungs as the Colts try to get back on track in the final weeks of the season. They clinched the division on Sunday while getting knocked around by the Bengals, but they won’t be able to back into anything once the playoffs roll around.
Choice probably won’t have much to do with that effort, especially since Rainey was only playing a special teams role, but he’ll be there all the same.
Browns safety T.J. Ward hit Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the knee on Sunday, causing Gronkowski to be carted off the field with what is feared to be a torn ACL. After the game, Ward said he felt bad about it, but hitting Gronkowski low is what the NFL wants.
“If I would’ve hit him up high, there’s a chance I was going to get a fine,” Ward said, via the Boston Globe.
Ward says NFL defensive backs are put in a tough position by the league office.
“It’s kind of being caught between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “It’s a decision you have to make, but you have to follow the rules at the same time. When they set the rule, everyone knew what was going to happen. This can happen if you have those types of situations. It’s pretty much inevitable, and they forced our hand with this one.”
Ward said he prayed for Gronkowski, but he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
“But I’ve got to play football, man. I’ve got to play football,” Ward said.
And the way the NFL wants defensive backs to play football is to hit low.
For all the frantic finishes yesterday, the Steelers might have topped them all, if Antonio Brown’s left foot hadn’t been just out of bounds.
The wide receiver’s foot on the line killed a five-lateral play that passed through six sets of hands with no time left on the clock, what would have set up a game-winning extra point against the Dolphins.
“I thought I had it clean,” Brown said, via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I thought I separated really well getting to the sidelines, but it didn’t seem quite enough.”
It was close, however.
Sanders tossed it to Jerricho Cotchery, who then gave it to Le’Veon Bell. Bell pitched it to tackle Marcus Gilbert, who had the good sense to get it back to Roethlisberger. After a few yards, the quarterback chunked it back to Brown, who had space.
Brown made Dolphins safety Reshad Jones miss, and appeared to be clear of Chris Clemons, but his left foot hit the white line around the 12-yard line.
What he really could have used was coach Mike Tomlin standing there to force him inside.
Instead, the Steelers were left to lament their eighth loss of the season, caused by a pile of problems bigger than Brown’s left foot.
“When you put yourself in a position where you are banking on Marcus Gilbert handling the ball for you to win the game,” safety Ryan Clark said. “That means you haven’t done what you were supposed to do earlier.”
It’s a familiar refrain for the year, and one they can think about in what’s almost certain to be an offseason that begins in three weeks.
The Jets came into Sunday’s game against the Raiders having scored 20 points in their previous three games, all of which were losses, and started a quarterback who hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass since late October.
So it was only natural that Geno Smith threw a touchdown and the Jets rang up 37 points in a 37-27 victory that kept their playoff hopes flickering a little while longer. Safety Charles Woodson was not happy to be part of a Raiders defense that allowed Smith, who was benched against the Dolphins in Week 13, “to be sort of great” and said that the unit bore the blame for the loss.
“I don’t want to sit here and make excuses about anything. We’ve played well at times and we haven’t played well and today is as bad as we’ve played this whole season,” Woodson said, via the Bay Area News Group. “It’s really embarrassing to be a part of it. We were like the Bad News Bears out there today. In saying that, I do want to give credit to our offense. They just kept fighting today and really gave us a chance to still be in the game. Defensively we went out there and basically peed down our legs.”
Plenty of people predicted a gloomy finish for the Raiders this season, so their 4-9 record doesn’t come as any great shock. The fact that they’ve gone from 3-4 to 4-9 may make it feel worse, but the holes were always there to be exploited by the opposition and the Raiders will have to work hard to fill them this offseason if they want to avoid further soiling of their uniform pants.
In nearly 24 hours since a report emerged that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan packed up his office and nearly quit in January 2013 before a playoff game, Shanahan has spoken about the situation (even if he really didn’t say much). Robert Griffin III has spoken about the situation (even if he really didn’t say anything).
Owner Daniel Snyder has said nothing. Neither has G.M. Bruce Allen, whose title and circumstances of hiring in early 2010 suggest he is Shanahan’s boss (even if Allen really isn’t).
One day removed from the eruption, the silence becomes deafening. How can Snyder and Allen not react to Shanahan apparently leaking the report, knowing it would hit only hours before a game and then not denying it (and in fact sort of confirming it) during a post-game press conference in which Shanahan made it clear he has every intention of being the head coach through the rest of the current season?
There’s a chance that the team’s power structure has opted to fight off-the-record fire with off-the-record fire, getting their point across without attaching their names to it. Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reports that management is “angry” about the report.
“Some Redskins officials questioned the timing and motivation behind those sentiments becoming public, the people with knowledge of the situation said, with some suggesting Shanahan — or someone close to him — was behind the story,” Mark Maske of the Post wrote. “The Redskins officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said a parting of the ways between the team and Shanahan was increasingly likely.”
So why not do it now? The Redskins just finished a disastrous three-game home stand, capped by a 45-10 loss to the Chiefs before the smallest crowd for any non-preseason game since FedEx Field opened in 1997.
It could be that the notoriously litigious Snyder has decided to huddle with his battalion of lawyers and formulate a plan before proceeding. And that plan could include stiffing Shanahan, like the late Al Davis once did.
The organizational dysfunction has been lingering for months. It’s quite possible that enough stuff has happened behind the scenes to give Snyder enough ammunition to make a straight-faced argument that Shanahan shouldn’t get his $7 million salary for 2014.
With Shanahan’s fingerprints firmly affixed to Sunday’s report and with the eventual decision being made by Commissioner Roger Goodell, it would hardly be the most frivolous legal claim Snyder has ever made. Regardless, Snyder needs to say or do something, at some point soon.
Shanahan has made look Snyder look bad, and with each passing hour of silence Snyder is looking worse.
The Broncos put on another offensive exhibition in Sunday’s win over the Titans, giving quarterback Peyton Manning a pretty good argument against those who have decided he can’t play in cold weather.
During the course of the 51-28 victory, the Broncos got touchdowns from tight end Julius Thomas, running back Knowshon Moreno and wide receivers Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas. For Welker, it was his 10th touchdown of the season which meant that he joined the other three players in double digits on touchdowns for the season.
According to the NFL, that makes the Broncos the first team to have four players with 10 or more touchdowns in the same season. It was one of several records set by the Broncos on Sunday as Manning became the first quarterback with seven four-touchdown games in one season and Matt Prater broke the record for longest field goal by hitting from 64 yards.
Wide receiver Eric Decker also scored on Sunday, giving him eight touchdowns on the year. If he also gets to 10 on the season, it’s probably a good bet that Manning will wind up breaking Tom Brady’s record for the most touchdown passes in a season. Since he’s just five away from the mark of 50 with three games left to play, Manning’s got a pretty good chance at it even if Decker doesn’t get to join the double digit fun.
The Bengals offensive players did what they were supposed to do against the Colts.
Former Texans coach Gary Kubiak bought a newspaper ad to thank the team and its fans.
What do the Colts need to fix before heading to the playoffs?
Where do the Jaguars rank among all teams that started seasons 0-8?
The Titans defense fell flat after the team took a 21-10 lead.
QB Alex Smith didn’t think the weather had much of an impact on the Chiefs on Sunday.
Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli uses a variety of avenues to communicate with his Cowboys charges.
The Eagles offensive line played snow plow on Sunday.
Is effort to blame for the Redskins’ special teams incompetence?
The Bears are coming off one of their best pass rushing days of the season.
Some young members of the Falcons had a rough time in Week 14.
Sunday night did not go well for the Panthers secondary.
Saints coach Sean Payton credited his team’s energy with pushing them to victory.
The Rams offense doesn’t get high marks for their work on Sunday.
Penalties were a big problem for the Seahawks on Sunday.
And Gordon did.
Following a franchise-record 261 receiving yards in Week 13, Gordon added 151 receiving yards against New England. It gives Gordon 774 receiving yards in the last four games, which is the highest total generated by any player over a four-game stretch.
Earlier this year, Calvin Johnson generated 746 yards in a four-game span, which included 329 against the Cowboys, the highest production in any non-overtime game.
Gordon’s brilliance nevertheless has been wasted. The Browns have lost each of the last four games, all of which came after the bye.
Still, the second-year wideout’s performance provides hope for the future. If — and only if — the man believed to be in Stage Three of the substance-abuse program for the rest of his career can avoid another violation of the policy, which would get him banished for at least one year.
It wasn’t long ago that cleaning house looked like a good idea for the Dolphins.
But after winning three of their last four, there’s apparently a measure of security for the guy who put them together.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland “has received assurances” from owner Stephen Ross that his job was safe.
Ireland has been a popular whipping boy for Dolphins fans, and he spent Ross’s money this offseason like he was desperate to avoid firing.
But after the team has bounced back from the criticism that came with the early days of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying investigation to play well, some of the frustration with the direction of the team has subsided.